- The Tinian Earhart Expedition finished their third day
of digging and a new course is being charted.
- Today, Sunday, Dr. Tom King and Dr. Karin Burns, two
of the on-site anthropologists, flew back stateside to teach.
- Can you imagine their Monday lectures?
- Or maybe Tuesday lectures because it will take Dr. Burns
about 24 hours to fly from Tinian to the University of Georgia, where she
is an assistant professor.
- Much like Indiana Jones' classroom, can you see a lecture
hall filling with students, clueless as to what their jet-lagged professor
did over the weekend.
- The same holds true for Dr. Hiro Kurashina, an Archeological
Historical Preservationist professor from the University of Guam, who,
along with six students, flew from Tinian back home on Sky Blue Air, courtesy
of Joe Edhlund. The students have experiences and stories to tell their
grandchildren about how they were part of the dig for Amelia Earhart's
- As for Saint John Naftel, the 82 year old USMC gunner's
mate who was shown the gravesites in 1944?
- His clothes are still lost.
- And, like the Charlie Daniel's song, they are "Still
in Saigon." They were shipped there instead of Saipan. Naftel is scheduled
to fly back home to Alabama on Wednesday.
- At least he probably won't have to do much laundry. Those
who are still on Tinian are still wet, sweaty and dirty.
- Bedtime is usually about 9 p.m. because everyone is so
- "No one really drinks nor does anyone here really
party," said Bob Silvers, expedition spokesman. "Though at the
end of the day when we were here last year, I remember Naftel wanting to
go fool around at the casino when we were all exhausted."
- Saturday night, a huge fiesta was held for the two dozen
- "The food was really fantastic," Silvers said.
"They brought in deep water fish from Yap and bar-b-qued a fresh suckling
pig. A rosary was held by a local family so they expanded it to a dinner
for us. We had beef dishes and things that were just out of this world.
About 200 people showed up. Kids were running around. Families were there.
It was just great."
- The whole island is taking care of the crew who are funding
the expedition themselves. They are paying their own way to fly to and
stay on this isolated Pacific island in their search for the remains of
Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
- A quick online check of fares flying from places like
Alabama and Georgia to Saipan on Continental airlines shows that a one-way
ticket costs almost $2,000. That's ONE way.
- The Tinian Dynasty hotel rates are from $260 to $350
a night. The expedition has also rented a van and 2 cars. There are no
Dennys or McDonalds on the island. A trip like this is not cheap.
- "The mayor of San Jose is making sure we have water
and snacks," Silvers said. "Everyone is really trying to help."
- This morning, the group went to the house of the owner/operator
of the only backhoe on Tinian, woke him up and asked if he could please
help them continue looking for road marks.
- "The backhoe owner/operator did four scrapes for
us today, Silvers continued. "He's also a road builder. We're excited
because his scrapes revealed coral laid out in ways that are not natural
and in a way that was used for road foundations."
- "We've gotten some pre-war Japanese maps, some U.S.
Seabee maps and found a 1944 aerial photograph of the area," Silvers
- Now, the expedition will move from the dirty sweaty digging
part to the high tech detective part.
- "Our next step is cartographic correlation. We will
combine our Global Positioning System or GPS coordinates, and with computer
aided mapping overlays, try to determine where the road along a cliff'
- "We're also using GPS coordinates to record where
we have been to make sure we don't back track. The sites are being re-covered
to return the land to its original condition," Silvers continued.
- The next steps will take place Monday at the CNMI Office
of Historical Preservation on Saipan where software will be used for the
- "We need to find the old road," Silvers said.
"We need an accurate delineation to follow. We need an accurate location
so we can determine where to dig next."
- "We're hoping that FedEx will help us by taking
aerial photographs so we can correlate with the 1944 aerial picture we
got from a museum in Hawaii," he continued.
- "This dig has shown us lots of interesting things,"
Silvers continued. "Today, I went exploring in the jungle and crawled
through a hole and found a cave. It looks like the Japanese may have been
hiding there because I found old Sake bottles, old shoes, old military
rations containers; things like that. I also found a bird's nest with eggs
in it and nearby, a young Monitor lizard about a foot and a half long."
- In spite of not finding any human remains yet, are they
- "Though we're all sweaty, dirty and tired,"
Silvers concluded, "both Saint John Naftel and Jennings Bunn are confident
that she's here somewhere and it's just a matter of time before she's (Amelia
Earhart) is found."
- The Expedition's website is www.historicalexpeditions.org.
- Cassandra 'Sandy' Frost is an award winning e-journalist
and editor who has covered the topics of Intuition, Remote Viewing and
Consciousness from an Athabascan or Alaska Native point of view the past
- More of her articles can be found at: http://blogs.salon.com/0003531